Nation & World News

Egypt’s Morsi Says He Won’t Step Down, Defies Army’s Demand

By Bill Chappell on July 3rd, 2013

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET. Morsi Addresses The Nation:

In a broadcast speech Tuesday night, President Mohammed Morsi refused to step down, saying it would undermine the legitimacy of the country’s constitution.

“Legitimacy is the linchpin for security,” he said. “It is the only guarantee that no violence can be embraced.”

The BBC reports Morsi “admitted he had made mistakes, pledging his loyalty to the people but urging protesters to remain peaceful, insisting he would not be dictated to.”

On Monday, the Egyptian Army urged the country’s first democratically elected president to reach a compromise with his opponents by Wednesday. In his speech Tuesday, Morsi called on the army to withdraw its ultimatum.

Our Original Post Continues:

If Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi can’t reach a compromise with his political opponents by Wednesday’s deadline, the country’s military plans to suspend Egypt’s constitution, dissolve the legislature and appoint an interim leadership, according to multiple reports.

The military’s plans for what might happen if Wednesday’s deadline passes without an agreement was presented in rough outlines Tuesday by state media and other news outlets. The deadline will pass Wednesday afternoon in Egypt — around late morning on the U.S. East Coast.

Morsi is calling for the military to rescind its demands, saying on his Twitter account Tuesday night that he will “hold on to constitutional legitimacy,” the news site Ahram Online reports.

A communications adviser for the president tells NPR’s Laila Fadel in Cairo today that Morsi has no plans to resign, saying that a coup would set a dangerous precedent.

Demonstrations by millions of protesters Sunday prompted Egypt’s military to give Morsi an ultimatum Monday. Those protests are continuing this week, as Morsi’s opponents and his supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood party take to the streets.

“Clashes broke out around pro-Morsi marches in several parts of the capital and a string of cities to the north and south,” the AP reports. “Morsi opponents stormed Brotherhood offices in two towns. At least 16 have been killed since Sunday in clashes, most of them anti-Morsi protesters shot to death by Islamists.”

As protests continued today, at least seven people have died clashes, CNN reports, citing state media.

And an Egyptian appeals court says Morsi acted improperly when he fired former Prosecutor General Abdel Maguid Mahmoud, a move made when he issued a constitutional declaration late in 2012. That declaration intensified clashes between the president and the judicial branch. At this time, it remains unclear whether Mahmoud will be reinstated. The Supreme Judicial Council is expected to clarify matters Wednesday.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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